With investment and vision, Dover can become a jewel in the crown of the nation
Last week Dover Harbour Board announced that two new community directors will be
appointed to the board. This shows how much has changed in recent years. Back in
2010 the port was about to be sold off to the French or whoever. All that was
needed was the flick of the Minister's pen and the port would have been
People felt deeply that Dover should remain Forever England. That
there needed to be more investment and regeneration at the port. A closer
partnership was needed between port, community and the port users to realise the
true potential of the port and waterfront. Finally the port needed to benefit
So the People's Port Trust was born to fight the sell off. If
they were going to sell it, we would buy it. Funds were raised in the City of
London. An offer was made to the Government. A referendum was held and 98% voted
for Dover the sell off to be stopped. The turnout was higher than the previous
district council elections.
The People's Port campaign stopped the sell
off. Yet more reform was needed to see the port benefit the town.
this year the Ports Minister came to Dover and set out a programme for reform.
The port would have the powers to raise the funds it needed. This nailed the lie
that privatisation was the only way to raise the money. The Minister announced
there would be a port community fund to benefit our community. Finally he
announced that community directors would be appointed by the community to secure
the community interest in the boardroom.
The Harbour Board has made much
progress. The port's rules have been changed to allow the port to raise
investment it needs. Already, there is an exciting vision for the Western Docks
Revival. The community benefit fund is being established. People feel it's not
enough and I want to see it increased too. Yet the principle has been secured.
Finally a process took place to appoint a community director. Local residents
Neil Wiggins and Samantha Parker have been appointed. Many congratulations and
best of luck to them both in their service.
We have come a long way in
less than five short years. More has been achieved than anyone thought possible.
The new leadership at the Harbour Board has achieved much they can be proud
The next stage is to secure the investment needed to transform the
port. The Western Docks Revival is a great plan. My vision is that the town
centre development should cross over the A20 properly to join town and
waterfront. To see the Marine Station no longer marooned but at the heart of a
great waterside development. To see Dover a destination for visitors to come to,
not pass through. With investment and vision, Dover can be a jewel in the crown
of the nation once more.